Welcome to Four Eyes Forum, a meeting place to exchange news and views on food, food photography, the word on food, food science, style and architecture. Join me, the blogger who wears glasses, in this world as I throw out engaging stuff that I think you'll find interesting, beautiful and delicious. As Charles Dudley Warner, American editor and writer, said,
"Lettuce, like conversation, requires a good deal
of oil, to avoid friction, and keep the company
smooth....You can put anything, and the more
things the better, into salad, as into a conver-
sation, but everything depends upon the skill of

That's my job.

(All photographs, unless otherwise cited, copyright
Kristin Halgedahl Photography 2016)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mosaic - All The Pieces Fit

New Orleans' loss is Sonoma County's gain, as Chef Charles Russo has joined the staff and works his magic at Tai Olesky's Mosaic Restaurant & Wine Lounge in Forestville, CA. "Mushroom appetizer?" I thought. Sounds good, but this! Layers and layers of flavor of locally cultivated gourmet mushrooms, sauteed with shallots and fresh herbs, deglazed with madeira, finished with a touch of cream and served with a wedge of Triple Cream Brie and grilled crostini! I turned it over and over in my mouth. "I'm in church," I thought. "Lord, let me live through dessert." And, because I don't eat enough fish and they've reinstated it on the menu, (we love restaurant accountability) I had the salmon. Again, my palate was treated to a multi layered bath of flavors, after my gasp at presentation had passed. My dining partner's coffee encrusted filet mignon was similarly astonishing. Small wonder this restaurant has earned a Zagat rating. Mosaic. It's diviiiiiiiine!

The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Pocket Guide is a wonderful carry-with-you card.
"It's handy, it can be downloaded to an iPhone, it is absolutely free, and it makes anyone an instant expert on which seafood choices are sustainable and which are not. Never go into a grocery store or restaurant without one." -- Barry Estabrook in Summer 2009 Gourmet

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tomato Season, At Last!

We're at the height of the summer season at farmers' markets everywhere, and here in Sonoma County, CA the Early Girl tomatoes are finally in abundance. I wait all year for this variety,
as a child does Christmas, and I mean with that degree of industrious yearning. And then, it's July and they're here, the wait is over and the ecstasy lasts longer than Christmastide. The Early Girl's sweetness makes clear its fruit classification, and to eat one warm, just picked, with a little Sicilian salt is heaven on earth. Especially if it's from Soda Rock Farm in the Alexander Valley outside Healdsburg. Amen.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Another Dining Recommendation -- Monti's Rotisserie and Wine Bar

Tucked away in the middle of an upscale suburban mall, Montgomery Village, in Santa Rosa, CA, Monti's Rotisserie continues to satisfy year after year. One of my dining partners put it best when he said,"This is like eating in San Francisco, without the wind, at half the price!" Well said, Marvin, and all meals were first rate. My brother had fish, which adhered to the Polish proverb, "Fish, to taste right, must swim three times--in water, in butter, and in wine."Leslie's artichoke hors d'oeuvre made nonsense out of Miss Piggy's feeling that "After all the trouble you go to, you get about as much actual 'food' out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 49 postage stamps." Les just kept repeating how great it was.My hanger steak took me back to a summer on the Cote d'Azur; pomme frites, the litmus test, was like eating sunshine the Impressionists captured. The service is a tad slow, but the wait is worth it. We even took the new puppy and sat outside, where the french bread sated his need to chew. Willie behaved at Monti's. Good dog;great meal. Try it!

Birth of Impressionism Fare - San Francisco

Speaking of birthdays, the de Young Museum in San Francisco is hosting the Birth of Impressionism Exhibit through September 6, and it's Cafe's fare is themed to the period. If you haven't eaten there, do.

The prices are surprisingly reasonable, the portions are substantial and the food is fresh and succulent. I had coq au vin (there wasn't any magpie on the menu...OH NO, that was in the Monet on the wall! ha ha) and it was a grand and tender piece of meat -- falling apart tender in its flavorful jus. Oh, those beans! Together with an asparagus salad, it provided a gastronomic pause in the afternoon's celebration of all things visually masterful.

Uncle Tom and the Fourth of July

When I was a kid, the Fourth of July always found me at the Italian family's gathering to celebrate the birth of the nation's independence and the birth of Uncle Tom, favorite bachelor uncle. He lived on a small farm property outside Rochester, NY, and the back yard was set up with long folding tables beside the bocci and croquet areas. As great aunts and uncles arrived, the tables' offerings grew to include Aunt Carmela's baked lasagne, (if, truly, taste lives in memory, this one lives in mine) grilled steaks, chicken, Italian hots, bread, bread, bread, salads, fruit and cookies.
At this point, I'd take a break to poke around his dishevelled house. He had lots of dough, but not much 'stuff'. His gigantic Maranz speakers, however, were a wonder to me, as was his trumpet (which he played fairly badly in the community band), and that stack of taboo Playboy magazines.
After my annual inspection, I'd return outside to the now cranked strawberry ice cream. Incredible sensory memory that will always bring him back to me, and his delight in serving it. The recipe's in the photograph. Enjoy!